For writers just starting out:
This is your first stop, hands down! The AW forums are a bottomless well of information for new writers. You can lurk and learn, or you can jump right in and start asking questions. It’s a great place to connect with other writers, to have your work critiqued and to learn all about the publishing process.
For writers in search of an agent:
Time to start learning all about agents! This site is a great place to start, because it’s simple and easy to search. Here is where you can get an idea of which agents represent which genres, their recent sales and basic information.
Now that you have an idea of which agents represent your type of book, look them up in more detail on this site. Read comments from other writers who have queried those agents, so you can get an idea of what they’re selecting/rejecting and how fast they respond.
Get down to the nitty gritty now by looking up your chosen agents on Casey McCormick’s blog. It is a constantly-expanding database of agents detailing everything from what they’re looking for to what they had for breakfast that morning! (okay, maybe not THAT detailed, but you get the idea.)
For writers looking to get connected:
If you’re following all of the websites above, you probably know most of what you need to know. The only things left to learn are the things that can’t be found on those sites, because they haven’t been said yet!
Now is the time to start following writers, agents and editors on Twitter and in the blogosphere. This is the absolute best way to keep up with the tides of publishing. You’ll know which fads are hot, which ones are “so last year,” and why none of that matters… because by now, you have 100% confidence in your writing, your book and your path to publishing.